Once a laid-back fishing village, the beach town of Ocho Rios is now an adventure hub for tourists and Caribbean ship cruise passengers who pull into the port to enjoy the tropical feel around the lush countryside.
While Ocho Rios (or Ochi as Jamaican call it), may not boast the vibrant nightlife of Montego Bay, there are still plenty of things to do in Ocho Rios.
Interestingly, the beaches in the small town are not the only focal point of attraction in Ocho Rios.
From the foodie and beach lover to the culture fan, nature explorer, and the adrenaline junkie, the small town is chock full of activities for everyone.
Ocho Rios is also a great base from where you can explore surrounding areas. Here I have come up with the best things to do in Ocho Rios, designed to ensure you experience the bustling charm of the small town where the famous reggae icon Bob Marley was born.
For more in my Jamaica series, why not read these post on the best beaches in Ocho Rios Jamaica, things to do in Jamaica and how to stay safe in Jamaica.
The Best Things to Do In Ocho Rios Jamaica
Dunn’s River Falls Jamaica
The most famous and one of the most photographed attractions in Jamaica, Dunn’s River Falls is a gorgeous 180-meter cascading waterfall.
With the help of a trained guide, you can climb the limestone tiers to the top of the waterfall, slide through the rock’s smooth sections, and swim in the lagoons at the base of falls.
Bring your water shoes along to avoid overpaying since you would have to rent or buy them before you go in.
Also come along with an action camera and appropriate clothing as chances are, you’d come back soaked. Dunn’s River Falls is one of the top attractions in Ocho Rios.
Check here for tickets to visit Dunns’ River Falls.
Blue Hole Ocho Rios
The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios is your ideal place of attraction. Alluring, Less crowded with picturesque scenery.
Also known as Secret Falls or Island Gully Falls, it has a series of jungle pools which are fed by the waterfalls from the mountains.
The Blue Hole is an increasingly popular tourist attraction even if it used to be off the major tourist track.
One of the most exciting things to do here is to climb over the sleek rocks above the jungle pool, where you can play the bushcraft version of Tarzan on the rope, swinging and jumping off into the turquoise water.
As is the case with Dunn’s River Falls, it will be wise to work with trained guides for your safety, as they’ll show you the best places to swim.
However, you can still visit on your own if you do not want to swim in the pools. Visiting the Blue Hole is one of those unique Ocho Rios excursions you can do.
Check here for tickets to visit the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios.
Read reviews | TripAdvisor
Fern Gully is a five-kilometre stretch of winding road nestled on an old riverbed. The giant tree ferns which form an overhead canopy are a prominent feature of the Gully. This creates a tunnel-like effect for tourists looking to cruise along the road.
An amazing drive it is, the thick foliage of the tropical forest will prevent the harsh sun rays at different points as you drive through.
You can buy souvenirs or wooden carvings along the way, so a brief stopover would be fine too.
Read reviews | TripAdvisor
Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios
A short way from the famous Dunn’s River Falls, you’d find the popular Dolphin Cove just across the road.
The five-acre space is a marine park which encompasses the feel of a natural cove where you can paddle around on glass bottom kayak or snorkel with stingrays.
The highlight, however, is the dolphin encounters. Every tourist can score time with these gentle creatures, including the chance to swim with them, hold and feed them, and enjoy a cool dolphin “kiss”.
Tropical birds, iguanas, and snakes can be found through the Jungle Trail walk; you can ride a camel, and yes, you can have photos of your experience for an extra fee.
Check here for tickets to visit Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios
READ MORE | BEST THINGS TO DO IN JAMAICA BY A JAMAICAN
Read reviews | TripAdvisor
Rainforest Adventures Mystic Mountain Jamaica
The Rainforest Adventures Mystic Mountain is your ideal spot if you are looking to have a feel of the tropical adrenaline rush.
You’ll start your adventure by ascending the mountain, pitched on the Sky Explorer, an aerial lift perched at the top of the rain forest. Enjoy the picturesque views of the cruise ship port and the beautiful coastline.
From there, you can fly through the treetops of the rain forest on the zip lines or head down to the mountain on Bobsled, a roller coaster ride for a single person.
The Mystic Mountain Bobsled is inspired by the famous Jamaican bobsled Olympic team, which adventures then got turned into the high cult movie ‘Cool Runnings’.
If you are an adrenaline funkie, then you’ll find this one of the most fun things to do in Jamaica.
Check here for tickets to visit Mystic Mountain Jamaica.
Read reviews | TripAdvsior
Glass-Bottom Boats in Ocho Rios
The Glass-Bottom Boat tour is where you get to experience a mini example of the underwater life of the Caribbean Sea.
The calm marine life and colourful reef of the Caribbean make for a captivating environment.
This underwater adventure will have you enjoy the backdrop of Ocho Rios from the sea as you sunbath and snorkel through the cool waters of the Caribbean Sea.
After your swim, you can grab a bite at any of the local jerk restaurants for a feel of the complete Jamaican experience.
Green Grotto Caves
About 30 minutes away from Ocho Rios, the famous Green Grotto limestone cave stands tall.
The caves once served as a reputed hideaway of Spanish settlers fleeing from the British and escaped slaves.
In more recent times, however, the caves were used as a backdrop for one of the Bond movies.
Today, the Green Grotto Caves are home to snakes and bats. With the help of guided tours, you’d have a feel of the history of the caves and enjoy the view of the beautiful stalagmites, stalactites, and an underground lake.
However, if you have any physical disabilities, you need to exercise caution as the many stairs and slippery paths could pose a challenge.
Visiting the Green Grotto Caves is one of the top things to do in Jamaica.
Check here for latest prices for tickets to the Green Grotto Caves
Read reviews | TripAdvisor
READ MORE | IS JAMAICA SAFE TO TRAVEL
Catamaran Cruise With Snorkelling
Explore all the Ocho Rios waterfalls, beaches, and reefs in the Island on a catamaran snorkelling cruise in Ocho Rios.
Experience the magnificence of Dunn’s River Falls as your adventure takes you through one of Jamaica’s most majestic natural treasures.
Visitors here are welcome to enjoy the music, dancing, and drinks on offer as they discover Jamaica in all of its glory aboard a Catamaran tour.
With the help of trained guides, you are lead out to sea to snorkel and discover Jamaica’s natural coral reefs.
A catamaran cruise with a snorkel tour is one of the best things to do in Ocho Rios and I can’t recommend it enough after snorkelling in the turquoise Caribbean Sea.
Check here for tickets to the Catamaran cruise with snorkel tours.
Read reviews | TripAdvisor
Horse Ride On The Beach
Explore the charming town sitting on the north coast with a horse ride!
This ride includes navigating through the sugar factories and castles are well over 100 years old.
As you ride through, you’ll see beautiful birds flying overheads before heading into the sea waters. And the fun part is: you need no experience to catch as much fun as you desire on horseback! Horse Back riding is one of the top attractions in Ocho Rios.
READ MORE | BEST BEACHES IN OCHO RIOS
Nine Mile tour
A tourist mecca for lovers of music, the Nine Mile village in Saint Ann Parish is the birthplace and final resting place of the late great Bob Marley.
With the aid of guided tours, you’ll be shown a small museum and the mausoleum where Marley was laid to rest.
During the tour, you will hear exciting stories of the extraordinary life of Bob Marley and the Rastafarian religion. This is one of the top Ocho Rios tours to take if you a fan of Bob Marley.
Read reviews | TripAdvisor
River Tubing On White River
About 30 minutes’ drive from Ocho Rios, the gentle rapids of the White River offers a soothing feel.
If you are a nature lover, you’d definitely a love to relax in the inner tubes of the clear river and drift along with the river flow.
The trip to the White River is great for families – an incredible way to unwind and get a taste of the tropical scenery.
Konoko Falls in Ocho Rios
Another worthwhile Jamaica excursions spot is the Konoko Falls and Park.
The attraction is unique as you can climb all the way to the top of the waterfall, with the help of a trained guide.
As is the case for every waterfall in Jamaica, it is essential you wear water shoes for this trip, but you can still buy one if you didn’t come with yours.
Towels will also be useful to dry off after your treatment.
Before going all the way up to the waterfall, a guided tour can help take you around the botanical gardens, which were once home to the Taino Indian tribe, and now features a wide range of indigenous birds and animals.
Konoko Falls and Park is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm daily.
Check here for tickets of the Konko Falls
Now you know what to do in Ocho Rios
Places to Eat in Ocho Rios
When researching about your trip to Jamaica and the things to do in Ocho Rios, you’ve probably drawn of a list of the foods to try.
I’ve listed some of the best restaurants in Ocho Rios Jamaica, which are loved by both locals and tourist alike. SO, your guaranteed satisfaction with every mouthwatering bite.
The only thing I would caution you with if this will be your first time visiting a Jamaican restaurant.
You‘ll wait a long time for your food in a Jamaican restaurant (30 minutes, 1 hour or more), so plan for your authentic Jamaica meal experience to take around 2 to 3 hours if not more and don’t be afraid to ask your server about your order.
In Jamaica, mealtime is a social event where family and friends come together for a good catch-up session.
However, I know people don’t have time to wait around on their holiday.
So, if you’re looking for something quick or short on time then visit one of the many fast-food places that line the main street in Ocho Rios.
But if you’re looking to try some authentic Jamaican food, then make sure you check out all the restaurants on this list.
Scotchies Jerk Centre Ocho Rios
Heralded as one of Jamaica’s best spots for authentic jerk chicken, Scotchies should make your list as one of the must-visit places to eat when you visit Ocho Rios.
Set in the backdrop of a casual outdoor environment you can have your jerk chicken or jerk pork, along with traditional sides like roast yam and hard-dough bread.
The Scotchies Jerk Centre branch in Ocho Rios is the biggest one and visitors here are welcome with a refreshing bar, lots of seating, an on-screen game, and reggae music lightly buzzing through the speakers.
Get your camera ready to capture all the action as you witness your food being jerked in front of you.
Address – Drax Hall Ocho Rios, Jamaica
READ MORE | WHERE TO STAY IN JAMAICA
Miss T’s Kitchen
Sitting at the end of a small road off Main Street that runs through Ocho Rios, Miss T’s Kitchen offers home-style dishes like brown stew chicken, curry goat, escovitch fish, and oxtail with peas and rice in the cutest little dutch pots.
The restaurant has won a good number of local awards for the authentic dishes that keep a consistently delicious taste, attracting so many locals and even the curiosity of tourists looking to have a feel of traditional Jamaican dishes.
When I visited Miss T herself was at the restaurant (she is a lovely lady and even sorted out the confusion with my order), answering questions from dinners and even recommending dishes based on dietary requirements.
Address – 65 Main St, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Ultimate Jerk Centre
If you are visiting the north coast of Jamaica, the Ultimate Jerk centre is one place you should definitely visit.
The rest stop and bar is located just opposite the Green Grotto Caves and caters to locals and visitors alike.
Cuisine on offer includes decent curry goat, fish, and everything jerk. You can be confident your visit here will be worth the while as you’ll get your jerk chicken within minutes of arriving the island.
Address – Main Street – Across from Green Grotto Caves
Ocho Rios Jerk Centre
The Ocho Rios Jerk Centre is a canopied, open-air restaurant where you will find a wide variety of Jamaica’s traditional foods.
The eatery serves frosty Red Stripe beers or cocktails like the unique Jerk Center Cooler, made of a colourful blend of vodka and rum. Pork, chicken, conch, ribs, and other catches of the day are also available here, all well-seasoned to taste.
The Ocho Rios Jerk Centre is typically busy at lunch, especially following the arrival of passengers from cruise ships in Ocho Rios cruise port.
It is a great place for tourists as they get to meet with the locals and enjoy a picnic-style dinning.
Address – 14 DaCosta Dr, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Dave’s Lobster Shack
Dave’s Lobster Shack is the perfect relaxation spot when you have climbed to the top of Dunn’s River Falls or after your river-tubing experience.
In a place known as the Fisherman’s Point, the menu on offer is just the ideal retreat cuisine, and a cruise to this small town is hardly complete without a stop-over to order the succulent lobster.
Dave’s Lobster Shack menu also include Red Stripe beer, icy cold water, soft drinks, and even the lobster is stuffed with vegetable melange which is cooked inside a tin foil.
Address – Fisherman’s Beach New Buckfield Rd, Ocho Rios Jamaica.
Sharkies Ocho Rios
Sharkies is a delightful eatery with an extensive menu comprising local dishes and a variety of fresh seafood offerings with a prime view of the sea.
Some of their main courses include shrimp pasta, shrimp in beer batter, jerk chicken, steamed fish, garlic shrimp, grilled lobster, seafood platter, pepper shrimp, curry fish, and lots more.
On Saturdays, visitors are entertained with live music with performances from popular artists like Runaway Bay and Salem.
The fish portions are huge! At Sharkies so go with an empty belly.
Address – Main Street, Salem, Runaway Bay, Jamaica
If you are looking to eat good Jamaican breakfast the visit Mother’s Jamaica. It’s a fully owned Jamaican company, and this is where most Jamaicans in Ocho Rios will get their breakfast (this is where I get mine when I stay in Ochi).
But make sure you go early, before 11:00 am or they might run out of breakfast. Also, don’t expect super fast services as stated above, Jamaican move at their own pace sometimes.
Located – 17 Main Street, Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
So you see, there are a lot of things to do in Ocho Rios Jamaica. Make your next Jamaica excursions count as you visit the Island’s north coast for the perfect getaway.
Though small, the town will leave you spoilt for choice—whether you’re looking to experience its beach life, have a go at its traditional cuisines, or just relax in a calm, peaceful environment.
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